Storm Lake, Iowa Leg Amputee Riding in RAGBRAI

A Storm Lake, Iowa woman is pedaling her way towards a life-long goal, despite a rare medical condition which almost took her life 6 years ago.

She's fought back after it took her right leg, but that's not stopping her from riding across the state of Iowa this year in RAGBRAI.

Brenda McVinua has had her bike for years and lately she's been riding a lot. That's because she's training for one of the longest bike rides of her life - RAGBRAI.

"I don't know how you can't go through life and not experience it, because it's just an amazing thing I think with all the different types of riders and everywhere," Brenda says. "I mean, I think every state's represented."

She's been waiting years to finally take this journey, but in 2007 she thought she never would.

"I shouldn't even be here..."

Brenda developed a rare medical condition that nearly killed her.

"It's called Purpura fulminans. They told my family at that point that I really didn't have any hope of living, that they didn't think I was going to make it, but they were going to do everything they could of course to try and keep me alive," she says.

That meant amputating her right leg.

"I am definitely of one in a million to be alive. It's amazing," says Brenda.

Now, after six years of recovery, Brenda - and her prosthetic leg - are hitting the road. RAGBRAI starts in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and ends in Fort Madison, Iowa. The ride itself is more than 400 miles long, but Brenda says she's ready.

"I'm not disabled, definitely not disabled. So there's one thing I can't do. I can't hop on my right foot yet, so I'll say that. No just kidding," she laughs.

She's on the Adaptive Sports Iowa Team made up of more than 60 riders.

"It's the only program on RAGBRAI that supports the, they say physically disabled and I say 'differently-abled', I always use that term. I never use handicapped or disabled, it's always 'differently-abled' because it's not that I can't do something it's just I do it differently maybe," says Brenda.

The Adaptive Sports Iowa team provides overnight accommodations for its riders, plus a support crew and vehicles to transfer wheelchairs and other equipment

RAGBRAI begins July 21 in Council Bluffs. For more information on the route, you can visit the event website:

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